Thomas Kean Takes You Inside the Sept. 11 Investigation

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 15, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Almost five years after the taste of an attack that took place on September the 11th, and two years after the 9/11 Commission issued its report, the two men in charge of releasing a new book about the behind the scenes event of that tragic day.

Joining us now, the chairman of the 9/11 Commission, author of Bill Clinton gave the speech in Woodbury, Long Island, in 2002. In his speech he talked about Osama, how he went to Sudan. The Sudans wanted to start dealing with him. And he said at the time he had committed no crimes against America so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him, though we knew he wanted to commit crimes against America.

He said, "So I pleaded with the Saudis to take him," but he thought — they thought he was a hot potato and they didn't — that's how he wound up in Afghanistan.

If we knew that he was a threat and they offered him to us and the president is admitting that, former President Clinton, why wasn't that pursued?

KEAN: It should have been. We made several mistakes. That was one of them.

Another time we had a chance to take him out when he was actually in Afghanistan using tribes. We didn't do it. We missed opportunities. Actually, Clinton did try to drop a missile on him at one point. He missed. We had a number of opportunities to take him out. And shame on us, we didn't do it.

HANNITY: What do you think the top three things we need to do now to make this country and the American people safer?

KEAN: One, I think we have to start distributing moneys according to need, not necessarily for political purposes. There's no reason to do that. We thought that was stupid to begin with. It was one of our easiest recommendations.

Secondly, the thing that terrifies me and that wakes me up at night is the idea of a terrorist with a nuclear weapon.

HANNITY: Scares me.

KEAN: We have to do much more to contain enriched uranium at the sites, which is about 100 sites around the world. We've got to make those sites secure. We're not moving fast enough to do it.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Governor, as I understand it, bin Laden was not offered directly to the United States. Because the Saudis wouldn't take him. We couldn't get him directly. That was the issue, as I understand it.

KEAN: Well, we didn't do enough. Not just this occasion. On a number of occasions we had chances early on to get him. And we didn't do it.

COLMES: But you said fighting the War on Terror and protecting the American people, those should be our top priorities, but are they?


COLMES: Why not?

KEAN: Because I think we are really a nation easily distracted. And we're fighting two wars. That's understandable. We're fighting in Iraq. We're fighting in Afghanistan. There are priorities at home that come up all the time.

And so these priorities are trying, frankly, to implement our 41 recommendations to make the people safer. These kind of things somehow start slipping in the priority.

COLMES: Is Iraq a distraction in the War on Terror?

KEAN: Iraq is a huge priority. And as long as you're spending that much time and money on that priority, obviously, it's going to take money from other things.

COLMES: You say the Pentagon and the FAA were not honest with the 9/11 Commission. How so? How were you deceived?

KEAN: They didn't tell us the truth. They testified before us publicly. They gave us timelines that weren't accurate. Our staff had to go and straighten out the record. And when we did...

COLMES: What was the motivation not to be honest with you?

KEAN: We have no idea. Because they didn't tell the truth we turned the matter over to inspector generals in two departments, and we're still awaiting for the results of their investigation.

COLMES: Was this the issue of Flight 93 and whether or not they were going to shoot it down? And they said that they were going to, but the timeline comes out and it finds out that 93 was already down by the time that order could have been given.

KEAN: Yes, they couldn't have. They couldn't have shot it down, but they said they could. They said they had 40 minutes to do it. That spawned all sorts of conspiracy theories.

COLMES: Did you even consider legal action on that issue?

KEAN: Well, we did. We were a commission. We were going out of existence. We didn't have time to do that. We thought the inspector generals were the proper people to do it, and hopefully, from their investigation come the right source.

HANNITY: Governor, is your son going to win in New Jersey?

KEAN: I think my son is going to win, and I think you'll have a great senator.

HANNITY: All right. Thank you, Governor Kean. Appreciate it. Thanks for being with us today.

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